What You Should Expect After Your First Workplace Injury
If you have suffered from your first on-the-job injury, you need to know about workers' compensation and your rights to benefits. Workers' compensation is there to help pay for the medical expenses you incur due to your injury and can also provide you with a portion of your wages while you are out of work. Here are some questions you may have.
What Should You Do First?
After you are hurt, you need to let your supervisor right away. Some people choose to neglect an injury. However, you could suffer from medical issues later on due to your injury. If you do not let your employer know you were injured, the workers' compensation insurance may not cover you. Waiting too long can result in you receiving no benefits that you are rightfully entitled to.
How Long Does Workers' Compensation Take?
The time it takes to process your workers' compensation claim will vary based on the type of injury you suffered. If your injury is minor, the claim will likely not take a very long time. For more serious injuries or those that result in a major disability, the claim will likely take longer. If you are not happy with the benefits you receive and choose to appeal, the claim takes longer as well.
Can You Get Fired?
This will mostly depend on your state. In at-will states, anyone can technically lose a job for any reason at any time. If you miss work because you were hurt on the job, your employer may not retaliate against you by firing you if you filed a workers' compensation claim. However, you could lose your job while your claim is in process as long as your employer has cause to do so.
For instance, if you and your employer have a fight while your workers' compensation claim is in process, your employer can fire you for insubordination. If your employer terminates you and you do not believe it was done for just cause, however, you can complain and file a claim against your employer.
How Much Money Will You Receive?
This will depend on your state. In general, you will receive compensation for all your medical expenses, hospitalizations, therapies, prescription medications, and mileage to and from your doctor's appointments. You will also receive a percentage of your wages. The final number you will receive is calculated by the insurance provider for your employer's workers' compensation policy. You will need to ask your human resources department for an exact figure once you file a claim.
Speak to a workers' comp attorney to learn more.